BOSTON — While they didn’t skate the entire game together, the Bruins’ Nathan Horton-less first line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Rich Peverley produced 10 shots on net and and two goals (both by Peverley) in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
However, Game 5 in Vancouver was the polar opposite. The trio fired just three shots on net and didn’t solve Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo in the 1-0 loss.
“I think there was a lot of power plays and penalty kills and I didn’t get too many shifts with them – probably a handful here and there. So it wasn’t like I had the same amount of consistency that we had in here [for Game 4],” explained Peverley. “But at the same time, when we are together we have to have energy and I can be better on my skating. When I’m skating I’m usually better at my game.”
After the game Friday night, Lucic admitted he needed to be better as well. He was the weakest link on the line with no shots on net.
Head coach Claude Julien, though, wasn’t of the mind to put a lot of heat on his first line heading into tomorrow night’s Game 6 with his team on the brink of elimination. Instead the coach stressed that at this stage of the season, contributions from complementary players could be more important than from those in a starring role.
“When you’re missing a quality player like Nathan Horton, you’ve got to find somebody else that can step in there. [Peverley’s] one of those guys and you’ve seen me use others as well. We seem to wonder about the top players of both teams, but depth is what is important at this stage right now,” said Julien. “It’s normal that when you’re in a Stanley Cup Final, the top players are going to be checked extremely close and they have to work hard to get away from that and get success. You saw our line here in Game 4 have success.
“So it’s a matter of workin’ through it again and our other guys coming up big on those occasions and the [Michael] Ryders, [Daniel] Pailles, [Chris] Kellys have done that in the past.”